Lifestyle drives city living push

INNER city living looks set to continue because of the changing lifestyle of many families says Colliers Jardine residential associate director John Lagdon.

“One reason why inner city development has been so successful is that it appeals to a wide cross-section of the community, from baby boomers whose children have left home to young couples and single people,” Mr Lagdon said.

He said the main reason people opted to live in the inner city area was lifestyle – including river walks and rides, cinemas, theatres, cafés, restaurants and shops.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics showed the City of Perth recorded the fourth fastest growth in WA and was ranked seventh nationally.

However, while Perth recorded a 7 per cent growth during the 1998-99 year, it paled in significance when compared to Sydney where the inner city population grew by more than 14 per cent in the same period.

Colliers Jardine research manager David Cresp believes the inner city market will continue to be very active.

“Many sites previously earmarked for commercial redevelopment in the inner city are now being targeted for residential development due to increasing land values and demand for inner city residential properties,” Mr Cresp said.

“Most inner city projects developed in Perth have sold exceptionally well in the last few years and this has encouraged major players like Fini Group, Finbar International, Australand holdings and Central Project Management to continue producing quality product,” he said.

Valuation firm Herron Todd White managing director Garrick Smith commented in a recent monthly report that South Perth was set to continue in popularity with strong interest shown in apartment developments where significant pre-sales were occurring.

Major multi-level developments within South Perth included the twelve-storey Blue Water, Malibu Apartments and Platinum Apartments.

“Significant pre-sales have occurred in each of these developments of between $2,700 per square metre and $5,500 per square metre for unit areas of 110 square metres to 150 square metres and up to 385 square metres for penthouses,” Mr Smith said.

Time Conti Sheffield research also shows inner city development has gone from strength to strength.

During the 1980s, only 266 inner city apartments were developed, of which more than 210 apartments were in seven developments in East Perth.

Northbridge did not even rate a mention for 1980 developments.

However, during the 1990s, more than 2,100 apartments were developed including almost 600 apartments in Northbridge.

East Perth recorded development of 876 apartments, 326 apartments were built in West Perth and Perth added 320 apartments to its ledger.

Yet while the 1990s recorded strong growth in inner city living, the new decade promises even stronger growth.

Currently, there are more than 1,500 apartments either under construction or planned.

East Perth interest appears to be shifting from the East Perth Redevelopment Authority area to that bounded by Wellington Street to the north and the Esplanade to the south.

The Fini development of the Panorama next to the Hyatt Hotel will, if it goes ahead, account for about one-quarter of new apartments in the area, while redevelopment of the old Chamber of Commerce building would add about seventy-five apartments.

Northbridge remains relatively quiet with only three projects in the offing, although this could well change rapidly with the impending redevelopment of the twenty-seven hectares over the Northbridge Tunnel.

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